Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease confirmed in Britain - extended


Containment precautions have been put in place in Britain after cattle at a farm in Surrey, southern England, were found to have foot-and-mouth disease, reports said Saturday. EU Commission prepares official export ban.

Sixty cows on the farm near Guildford tested positive for the disease, Britain’s Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds confirmed late Friday. The authorities have put a 3-kilometer protection zone in place around the farm and banned the movement of livestock within Britain. A 10km surveillance zone was also established around the farm. The affected animals will be culled. The European Commission announced export limits on British meat and livestock, with a formal decision on emergency measures expected on Monday. The commission said in an initial statement that Britain had followed all the EU measures required when an outbreak of foot-and- mouth is detected.

Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan told national broadcaster RTE that Dublin had banned the import of all live animals, fresh meat and non-pasteurized milk from Britain to prevent the spread of the disease. Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive was due to meet later Saturday for a special session to discuss an all-island response to the disease. Northern Irish ports have already been sealed to the import of live animals and animal products. In response to the outbreak British Prime Minister Gordon Brown cancelled his holiday and chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, Cobra. British authorities asked farmers to be vigilant for signs of the disease in their livestock.
An outbreak of the disease in Britain in 2001 led to the destruction of up to 10 million animals and major financial losses. The disease poses little danger to human health.

The EU Commission was preparing Monday an official ban on exports of meat, milk and animals from Britain in the wake of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the south of the country. A decision was expected late Monday afternoon in Brussels, a spokesman said. A high-risk zone is to be drawn in co-operation with British authorities. Apart from that, there would also be a low risk zone from which no animal could be exported. The British government on Saturday voluntarily halted all exports of cloven-hoofed animals, including live animals, meat and animal products, pre-empting the EU ban. The ban applies to cattle, sheep and pigs.

The inspectors hope to have the results of their inquiries within the next 36 hours, the BBC reported Monday. (

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